Staying Ability

Atlanta company targets mid-market

Nature abhors a vacuum, and Atlanta-based (by way of South Africa) Ability believes that the Internet does too. Ability aims its solutions at the mid-market ($50-500 million) companies, many of whom have been reluctant to make the big "e" commitment. There's the vacuum. After sitting down with Ability's President James Byrnes and Director of Marketing Nancy Haines to discuss what their company has to offer, I'm inclined to believe in their vacuum-filling mission, if for no other reason than the fact that their company history actually goes back to 1984. Sixteen years of experience seems like a huge asset when you spend your day sorting through dot-com obituaries. Ability even moved into an office that was occupied for a mere two months by a dot-com that shuffled off this mortal coil, going supernova before employees had time to remove price tags from some of the chairs. Economic Darwinism writ large.

Ability's supply chain optimization and e-commerce fulfillment solutions are targeted at reducing inventory levels for the mid-market distribution industry, mostly working with durable goods manufacturers. The company claims an average of 20 to 30 percent reduction in inventory, and has sold their solutions in South Africa on a risk-share basis. Companies that installed Ability's product had to achieve a verifiable benefit before payment was due, in a rare case of putting your paycheck where your sales pitch is.

According to Byrnes and Haines, some of Ability's capabilities are still in the early stages (their Web site is soon to be revamped, for example), but that doesn't mean that they're pushing vaporware. The company has 400 customers worldwide, so they have delivered improvements already.